Friday, October 31, 2008

Review: Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston

It's Dr. Seuss for (much?) older kids! And maybe adults!

No, wait, hear me out, it really is!

Zorgamazoo is a novel in rhyming, Dr. Seuss-like poetry, following the adventures of Katrina Katrell, an adventurous young girl, and Mortimer Yorgle, a decidedly unadventures zorgle who has been chosen to find the missing zorgles of Zorgamazoo. Heartwarming and hilarious hijinx ensue!

The poetry is really perfect, using infectious rhythm and unique words to suck you in and keep you from looking at anything else. The form allows some things to be simply TOLD (With a bit of a song, it was Morty's belief, / he could cope a bit better with feelings of grief.) so that we can move on to the story, but at the same time we're allowed to stop and really explore something for a few verses before we move on, all without losing track of the rhythm.

The plot and characters have a really fun blend of expected--the girl who believes in her fantasies and runs away from her evil governess--and unexpected, in the zorgle who's FATHER is adventurous and is bucking the tradition by being cowardly. Each character has a particular freshness, uniqueness, and individual motivation and none of that is forgotten as the story goes on. Also, and I won't spoil, I really really love the ending.

This would make an excellent read-aloud and vocabulary builder for younger kids, a great introduction to some of the possibilities in poetry, or just an exciting adventure to read to yourself. (Personally I read some passages aloud to myself just because I liked the words so much.) If you or your kids liked Seuss, Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket, or The Edge Chronicles, this is the book for you.
What follows are some excerpts from the first few chapters of the book, just to get you hooked. Please note that these are taken from the ARC version, and may not be the final text. The final text was released on October 16th and is available to buy. You can visit for more info on the book. And now:
Here is a story that's stranger than strange.
Before we begin you may want to arrange:

a blanket,
a cushion,
a comfortable seat,
and maybe some cocoa and something to eat.

I'll warn you, of course, before we commence,
my story is eerie and full of suspense,
brimming with danger and narrow escapes,
and creatures of many remarkable shapes.
. . .
So if you've no time for the whimsical things,
for pirates and gadgets and creatures and kings,
if you spurn the fantastic to never return,
then put this book down...

for it's not your concern.

Ah, you're still here. Then I'm grateful to you.
This book needs a reader, as all of them do.
. . .

Now Mortimer Yorgle, or "Morty" for short,
was a zorgle, perhaps, of a singular sort.
He was certainly pleasant, and friendly enough,
but his edges, I'd say, were a little bit rough.

For instance: His necktie was always
His trousers were striped with ridiculous dye.
On each of his hands he wore fingerless gloves,
and a rumpled-up raincoat was one of his loves.

Now read the book, for goodness' sake!

Buy Zorgamazoo


  1. Oh it is! It's 170 pages, with about 30 lines per full page. I read it in a couple hours, so it would be a little more than that for a read-aloud or kids' read.

  2. You've got me hooked. This book sounds like so much fun.

  3. Hey, I wanted to that you for coming by my blog during the Carnival! Keep coming back! I have several giveaways a week. I just added one for a $30 scarf today.

  4. This is the first I've heard of Zorgamazoo. It sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for the review.

  5. Framed and Beth, I'm glad I was helpful!

    quitecontrary: No problem at all. I consider it no hardship to poke around for free handouts... *cough* I mean thank you! :D

  6. Hey, thanks for a very kind review! Wanted to let you know I linked here from my own blog:

  7. this looks like a really fun book, I'll have to check it out with my kids. thanks!

  8. Hey again, thought you might be interested to know that I've just begun posting audio to my blog -- excerpts from Zorgamazoo, and there'll be new stuff in the future.


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